Termites are everywhere in Australia. CSIRO estimate that 80% of all homes are within 25 m of a termite nest. So, it’s important to have a termite management plan in place to protect your property. Without one, it’s a question of when, not if, you will suffer a termite attack – very expensive and very emotional!

A termite management plan consists of two key elements:

  1. A termite management system to protect the building from termite attack
  2. Regular professional termite inspections

A termite management system consists of a range of physical and chemical elements to prevent termites gaining concealed access to the building. The building will have a number of physical features that block the concealed entry of termites. Weak points in the construction should be protected with additional physical or chemical termite protection products. The idea is that an integrated termite management system will ensure there are no entry points where termites can get into the building without being noticed.

Let’s look at the two most common construction types in Australia, homes built on brick piers and homes built on concrete slabs.

Homes built on brick piers

Brick piers lift the whole building off the ground. This is great, as with an accessible sub-floor, the termite inspector can easily get under the house and see whether termites are getting in by looking for their mud tubes on the outside of the piers or supporting walls.

However, it is important that each brick pier and any supporting walls also have a physical barrier between the top of the pier or wall and the timber floor joists. This is because termites are more than capable of moving up inside the brickwork to get to the timber. By putting a physical barrier at the top of the pier – traditionally this would be a metal “ant” cap – it forces the termites to move to the outside of the pier to access the wood. When they do this, the termite activity can be detected and suitably treated.

The installation of termite systems – either soil treatments or termite monitoring and baiting systems – to the sub-floor and perimeter of the building will provide extra protection, with the soil treatment preventing termites even building their mud tubes on the outside of brickwork.

ant capping
Metal ant capping prevents termites moving up inside the brick pier without being noticed

Termite inspections are a must

It is important to understand that all termite protection measures are designed to prevent CONCEALED TERMITE ENTRY. Even with a well-constructed building with integrated termite protection measures, termites can still get into the building. Termites can build their mud tubes on the outside of brick piers and indeed on the outside of the perimeter walls.

Obviously, when this happens the termite activity can be easily spotted… as long as you are looking. But when was the last time you inspected the perimeter of your home or ventured into the sub-floor? It’s for this reason the annual professional termite inspections are highly recommended.

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